She was a constant in their lives. They continued to visit her long after they’d been her students, bringing new work, a second husband, a problem they needed to work out. Arthur came faithfully, some others only for the parties. Blakeley & Rob always came together, usually somewhat tormented. Her little house was a refuge as the seasons changed around it.
She lived alone - it seemed she always had - but those parties were legendary. They lasted all hours, the little house expanding and spilling outdoors in all weather. She was indefatigable, demonstrating or playing on the grass with the best of them.
Then she began to fail. She slept more often, in the same bed that had held their coats, a sleeping toddler, a stolen intimacy. She stayed near the house leaving only for studio visits which seemed to both revive and exhaust her. They threw one last party for her, a bit more subdued than usual, right outside her bedroom window where she could see them all.
Each visitor was sent home with something from her collection - a toy, a musical instrument, a wall hanging - until even her cluttered house seemed to shrink. They left quietly, straggling at first then coalescing into a group, holding each other close in a dance she wouldn’t see, but had brought alive, not far from the house that was their heart.